How To Soundproof A Room Against Outside Noises
When the majority of people think of soundproofing a room, they normally envision stopping sounds from leaving it. This can primarily be seen in sound studios and a variety of other areas. However, quite a large number of people will want to stop noise from coming in for various reasons.
The most notable sounds that people will want to reduce or avoid will be traffic and other street noises, among a few others. As such, an increasing number of people have looked to soundproof their room as much as possible.
This would typically lead to many people hiring a professional to do so. However, this could be quite costly, which you might want to avoid. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to choose between having a noisy room or spending a significant amount of money on the project.
Instead, you could soundproof your room yourself. Though you might expect this to be quite complicated, it doesn’t have to be. Despite what you might think, there are several steps to take to soundproof your home properly.
With how simple these can be, the majority of people will be able to soundproof a room themselves. Before you start doing so, however, you’ll need a few specific materials. In the majority of cases, you probably wouldn’t have these lying around, which means that you’ll have to buy them. When doing so, you’ll need to get:
While you should be able to find each of the above in a DIY store, they can often be quite expensive. As such, it can be well worth buying them online instead, such as from Amazon. Though this means that you’ll have to wait a few days before soundproofing your room, the cost savings could be worth the wait.
Once you have each of these, you’ll be able to start working on the project. While this will take time, especially for larger rooms, you should start seeing the benefits of it quite quickly.
Reinforce The Windows
Windows are perhaps the largest area where noise will come in. While you’re not going to be able to soundproof them when they’re open, there are a variety of things that you can do to minimize the amount of sound that comes in while they’re closed.
You should first start by examining the windows to see if there are any gaps between it and the frame. There are a few simple ways that you’ll be able to check this, with one of the most notable being to use either a candle or a lighter. Should the flame flicker at any point around the window, then this will be where the draft is.
Alongside this, you’ll need to examine the glass itself. The primary reason for this is that if it’s too thin, then it’s going to let a significant amount of sound in. Should this be the case, then you may need to replace it with double- or triple-glazed windows. Doing so should also mean that it will have more thermal insulation, which is a notable benefit.
In some cases, however, this might not be possible, although there are a variety of other things that you’ll be able to do to reduce the amount of sound that comes in through them. Perhaps the easiest is to get thick, sound-dampening curtains, which will have a substantial impact on the noise.
Alongside this, there are a few things that you’ll need to do to seal any air gaps that might surround your window. The first of these is to use acoustic calk, which should have a noticeable impact. Weatherstripping foam tape can also prove to be quite effective in this regard.
You could also consider using a soundproof window plug, although this will need a large amount of time to construct by itself. Lastly, if the windows themselves aren’t shutting properly, then you could consider using rubber gaskets, which may be helpful.
By using each of these, you should be able to minimize the noise that comes through your windows. Following this, you’ll be able to work on other areas of the room and your home.
Soundproof The Outside Walls
The process of soundproofing your walls is somewhat similar to that of your windows, in that you’ll first need to check if there are any gaps or cracks. If there is, there are a variety of ways that you’ll be able to fix these, with the majority being relatively easy.
In most cases, you should have to seal each of the cracks and stick some soundproof blankets on them. It could also be recommended that you rearrange the furniture slightly, which should take care of the rest of the sound. This is especially true if you have bookcases or other large objects pressed against where the cracks were.
If you think that this isn’t going to be enough, then there are a few other steps that you’ll be able to take. The most notable of these is to soundproof the wall from the stud inwards. To do so, a few things will need to be done. However, it should first be noted that you’ll need to either own the home or get the owner’s permission before you start the process.
When you’re doing so, you’ll need to create a few layers, with these being made up of several materials, including the soundproof drywall and insulation and mass loaded vinyl. There are different recommendations on which layer should be placed first, although this shouldn’t have too large of an impact on how much noise reduction there is.
What does matter, however, is ensuring that you have a few layers of both materials installed in the walls, as this will make sure that almost no sound comes through them. When doing so, you’ll also need to ensure that you use a high-quality, and preferably permanent, adhesive.
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This sound then mean that the layers don’t start coming off in the future. Should this happen, then you’ll need to redo much of the work again, which you’ll want to avoid. When you’re doing this, you should pay a significant amount of attention to the outside walls.
You may also want to enforce any walls that are shared with other homes. In most cases, adding a certain amount of mass to them will be enough to cancel out much of the sound. You also shouldn’t forget about the air vents, although these will typically need to be sealed off with a soundproofing sealant and drywall.
Check The Outside Doors
Next to your windows, your doors can be one of the more notable areas where sound can come in, which means that you’ll need to pay a particular amount of attention to them. In many cases, soundproofing your doors will follow the same process as the one you followed for your windows.
As a result, you’ll be able to go through each of the same steps that you took with them. Alongside this, it can be highly recommended that you have a thick door installed. This should prevent the majority of sound from coming in through it and shouldn’t take much time to put in.
Just like the windows, upgrading your door should also mean that you’ll be able to improve its thermal insulation. This should then mean that you’ll be letting less hot air out, which should then benefit your energy bills over time, which helps make the option much more recommended.
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If your door is a little bit too high and has a small gap under it, then you should consider getting a rubber door sweep, which will stop much of the sound from coming in. If you’ve got either a porch or balcony door, then you should be able to treat this as a window and go through each of the same steps.
Work From The Outside In
What you might not have realized is that there are a few things that you can do outside your home to reduce the level of noise that comes in. However, the majority of these will only apply if you have a garden, which could mean that people in apartments may not be able to take advantage of them.
If you do have a garden, however, there are several things that you can do. Perhaps the largest of these is planting large trees or bushes close to your window. While this will have a negative impact on your view, it should minimize the amount of noise that gets in through your windows.
It’s also recommended that you install a fence if you can. Thicker fences will be much more effective at preventing the majority of noises from getting to your house. To improve this, you should also add a layer of mass loaded vinyl to them.
By using both of these, you should be able to prevent the majority of exterior noises with a minimum amount of effort.
If you’ve got a dog, then there are a few ways that you can minimize the amount of barking you hear during the night. While training them is the most effective, you could also soundproof their kennel, which will have a large impact and also prevent your neighbors from hearing them.
To do so, it could be as simple as placing layers of soundproof foam and mass loaded vinyl along the walls of the kennel.
Deal With The Ceiling & Floors
While soundproofing your ceilings and floors might not be a necessary step to take, it’s something that could have a significant impact on the noise level. As a result, it could be a recommended option, though it will take a large amount of time to do so.
Before you take this step, however, it’s worth seeing how much of an impact the above steps have had. If the noise level has been reduced enough to your liking, then you might be able to skip this part entirely, in which case you’ll be finished with the process.
If not, then there are a few things that you’ll need to do. While this shouldn’t be applicable to people who live in a home, it could be beneficial to those who live in apartment buildings and have upstairs and/or downstairs neighbors.
However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to do a significant amount of construction around the apartment. As such, you shouldn’t have to worry about doing any damage to the roofs of ceilings themselves, although it’s still recommended that you seek a landlord’s permission before starting, if necessary.
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In the majority of cases, you’ll be able to reduce the level of noise from above by installing what’s known as a drop ceiling. This is essentially several layers of soundproof drywall, which will have quite a significant impact on how much noise comes through the roof.
By having several layers of this, the noise should dissipate between them, which will have quite a large impact on the sound. This shouldn’t mean that you’ll have much less headroom, however, as the layers could be much thinner than you might expect.
For the floor, there will naturally be different steps that need to be taken. While a thick carpet will typically be enough for this, you may want to consider installing mass loaded vinyl, rubber mats, or a foam underlay.
Any of these should ensure that there’s no sound coming up from your downstairs neighbors. Alongside this, it should also make sure that you’re not bothering them with the sound of your footsteps.
You could also consider having a word with any upstairs or downstairs neighbors that may be causing a lot of noise. By doing so, you could be able to get them to lower the sound levels, which could avoid much of this work.
By following each of the steps outlined above, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of sound that enters your room significantly. It sounds be noted, however, that the room may not be 100% soundproof, as this would require it to be completely airtight. This mightn’t be a realistic approach, as you naturally wouldn’t be able to get much use out of it.
However, the above steps will have a drastic impact on how much sound is able to get into the room. As a result, you should be able to get a decent night’s sleep without having to put up with any outside noises, such as traffic and much more.
This may seem like it’s too much hassle for quite a large number of people, even though it shouldn’t take as long as many people might think. If this is the case, then you might want to consider soundproof headphones or a variety of alternative solutions.
For people who prefer a more proactive approach to reducing the noise that comes into your home, you’ll be able to do so with each of the above steps. As such, it can be a well recommended option for the majority of people.
If you find that these don’t have a considerable impact on the noise, then there’s a significant chance that something might be amiss. Should this be the case, then your home may have larger problems than you might have realized and you may need a professional’s help.